Message from the President: Victory for PDPS in court case

Publish date: Friday, June 12, 2020


MNU members

MNU President

Politics & Government

Union news

Dear members,

I am proud to share with you an important victory for nurses and public sector workers.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice McKelvey has ruled that the Pallister government’s Public Services Sustainability Act (Bill 28) and its actions impede collective bargaining in the province and are a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and collective bargaining rights.

The ruling takes a strong stance against the PSSA and rejected the government’s legal arguments, going so far as to caution the Pallister government from taking further unconstitutional action that interferes with collective bargaining in the public sector.

“I have concluded that the PSSA operates as a draconian measure that has inhibited and dramatically reduced the unions’ bargaining power and violates s.2(d) associational rights” Justice McKelvey wrote in her decision. “The PSSA has made it impossible for the Plaintiffs to achieve their collective goals and limits the right to freedom of association.”

It is a strong decision and one that will empower the labour movement in our collective fight against this government’s heavy-handed attacks on our bargaining rights. It’s a big win for the Partnership to Defend Public Services – the coalition of public sector unions including MNU that sponsored the legal challenge. The timeliness of the ruling is important considering that nurses and many other public sector workers have been working under expired contracts for years, and have taken on additional burdens during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I want to extend special thanks to the Manitoba Federation of Labour and President Kevin Rebeck for their incredible work coordinating this effort. This is an important reminder of the change we can affect when we work together with our labour partners.

This is a moment we have been waiting for since the legal challenge was launched in fall 2017. I know many members have been frustrated by the long wait. I’m as relieved as you are to have a positive outcome through the judicial system.

At the same time, please note that this does not guarantee an immediate resolution to our bargaining issues. It is unclear if the Pallister government will appeal the decision, and what effect if any it will have on our bargaining timeline. MNU will closely review the 230-page decision and determine the implications for our bargaining process and any further legal action. We stand ready to meet the government at the table, but ultimately it is incumbent on government to respond.

This is an important step in the right direction, and we are pleased with the outcome. Rest assured MNU will continue to advocate on your behalf, and we’ll provide further updates on this issue as information is made available. 

Thank you for your continued support.

In solidarity,

Darlene Jackson
Manitoba Nurses Uniion


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